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Last Updated: Monday, 17 January, 2005, 13:18 GMT
In pictures: Zhao's life in politics
Zhao Ziyang, 13 July 1987
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Zhao Ziyang was a reformist who was removed as Communist Party chief in 1989 after opposing the use of military force against pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
Zhao Ziyang (centre) addresses the student hunger strikers through a megaphone, 19 May 1989, in a bus in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. To his right is current Premier Wen Jiabao.
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His famously went to the square on 19 May 1989, the day before martial law was declared, and made a tearful appeal for student hunger strikers to leave. Pictured behind him is current Premier Wen Jiabao.
US Vice President George Bush and China's Premier Zhao Ziyang at a reception in Washington, 11  January 1984
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Before he was ousted Zhao had helped forge economic reform. He is seen here with US Vice President George Bush during a trip to Washington in 1984.
UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (left) and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang (right) exchange signed copies of the Hong Kong handover agreement to China, Beijing, 19 December 1984
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As premier from 1980-87, it was Zhao who signed the 1984 agreement with UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that would see Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Former chairman of China's National Peoples Congress, Peng Zhen, (left) with former Communist Party head Zhao Ziyang and late leader Deng Xiaoping (right), 11 April 1987
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In 1987, Zhao (centre) took over as general secretary of the Communist Party, the most powerful post in China under paramount leader Deng Xiaoping (right).
Zhao Ziyang (rights) greets foreign journalists who were allowed to cover the 13th Communist Party Congress at the People's Great Hall in Beijing, November 1987
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Hidden from the eyes of the media for more than 15 years until his death on 17 January 2005, Zhao is pictured here greeting the foreign journalists covering the Communist Party's Congress in November 1987.
Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang (left in 2nd row) and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping (right in 2nd row) vote at the start of the National People's Congress in Beijing, March 1988
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Zhao, who came to symbolise the hopes of reformers inside China, is likely to be remembered more for his political failures.


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